Two of my articles were published in The Beagle online newspaper; and BayPost/Moruya Examiner/The Independent online and print newspapers in July as part of the Eurobodalla Fellowship of Australian Writers 'Write Place, Write Time' series.
Leadership, social history, Patricia Evans: a woman before her time inspiring new generations.
From 2013, Suzanne Newnham researched her mother Patricia Evans’ pioneering story, to inspire future generations. Patricia has been recognised for her achievements: Hall of Fame; Herstory educational database multiple recognition by BORAL including 2021 International Women’s Day. In 2021 What glass Ceiling? Patricia Julianne Evans (nee Morris): a memoir was published.
These days we tend to take for granted that women fulfil all kinds of roles and responsibilities, but in 1949 becoming BORAL’s (Bitumen and Oil Refineries Australia Limited’s) first female accountant was a big deal at a societal level. For Patricia, whose motto was "never underestimate what you can do in life", it was just another stride forward in demonstrating that she was equally skilled working within male-dominated industries.
This didn’t mean there weren’t obstacles and discrimination but these were overshadowed by her independence, desire for learning, and making the most of opportunities when they presented. From a young age having seen her parents embrace diversity and inclusion, she emulated their values, and wasn’t afraid to be a voice. Patricia tells amusing anecdotes when her shortened name, Pat, was used and the confusion when not a man but a capable woman presented herself and her work. A believer in “can the person do the job?”, she was insistent that a woman, man, disadvantaged, differing cultural heritage, or homosexual, was no excuse not to employ them. Patricia helped others break the glass ceiling, empowering them to realise their abilities.
Patricia was a natural story-teller. Her work revolved around facts and figures However, memories for other detail creates insights into the past: from 1940s and 50s, walking through grimy factories, to sitting in the splendour of polished oak boardrooms; smelling intoxicating lanolin-soaked wood in wool-stores, or pungent rubber of the sandshoe factory; to 1970s gleaming glass and modern buildings overlooking the harbour.
Suzanne considers herself lucky that she is from a long line of strong, resilient, and practical women: her mother Patricia, grandmother Phyllis, 1920s to mid-1973 financially capable, unafraid of male-dominated banking and real-estate traditions; and great-grandmother Lizzie with her thriving bridal-trousseau business from 1896 to 1937.
Patricia Evans 1927-2022 Rest in Peace
Suzanne Newnham is the author of Ethics of a Psychic Reading and What Glass Ceiling?; writer and contributor to numerous journals and anthologies; health advocate for chronic pain management; and researcher into chronic pain using Tai Chi, Qigong, and meditation. Her current project is family inspired social history – 180 years of pubs on Moruya Waterfront Hotel Motel site with a request for stories, anecdotes, family history, photos, and/or documents from everyone to include in this look at a social icon in the community.
For all Suzanne’s publications, information, and purchase: https://www.suzanne-newnham.com
Moruya pub project:https://www.suzanne-newnham.com/books--articles.html